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A NEW, REVISED AND ENLARGED EDITION,
Letters and Journals. Vol. V.
ROWLAND E. PROTHERO, M.A., M.V.O.,
FORMERLY FELLOW OF ALL SOULS COLLEGE, OXFORD
The period covered by Volume V. of Byron's Letters and Journals (April, 1820-October, 1821) includes the remainder of his residence in the Palazzo Guiccioli at Ravenna and the commencement of his stay in the Palazzo Lanfranchi at Pisa. Within these dates the Italian Revolution broke out and failed; Count and Countess Guiccioli were separated by Papal decree; the Gambas were exiled from Ravenna, and Byron followed their fortunes.
The excitement of these events stirred Byron's literary activity. In poetry he wrote the Fifth Canto of Don Juan, Marino Faliero, Sardanapalus, The Two Foscari, Cain, Heaven and Earth, The Vision of Judgment, and The Blues. In prose, besides increasing his correspondence, he kept a Diary for January and February, 1821 (Chapter XXI.), filled a "paper-book” with “Detached “Thoughts” (Chapter XXIII.), and wrote the Two Letters to John Murray on Bowles's Strictures upon Pope (Appendix III.).
Of the 183 letters, which belong to the period, and are printed in Volume V., 68 were unknown to Halleck, whose collection has hitherto been the most complete. The last letter in this volume, written to Moore from Pisa in December, 1821, is numbered in Moore's Life, 474; in Halleck's collection, 542; in this edition, 968.
Apart from new letters, or from additions made to others which have hitherto been published in an incomplete form, the chief feature of fresh interest is the chapter (XXIII.) containing Byron's “Detached
Thoughts." Large extracts from this collection have been made in previous editions; but the passages have been quoted in scattered fragments, without any indication of their order or connection. The original manuscript is now, for the first time, printed in its entirety.
Attention has been kindly called by Mr. C. K. Shorter to a series of extracts from letters, published thirty years ago in a well-known magazine. With few exceptions, these extracts are taken from the genuine letters, written by Byron to Mrs. Leigh, which have been published in their entirety, from the original documents, in previous volumes of this collection. It is not known by whom the extracts were made, or by whose agency they reached the press : they are not only fragmentary in form, but, in many instances, when compared with the originals, they have evidently undergone considerable alterations. Two of these extracts purport to be taken from letters written in the autumn of 1820. In the circumstances, it has been decided not to include them in this collection.
R. E. PROTHERO.
November 16, 1900.